Who knew the sweet smell of success would smell so much like pie? At this year’s American Pie Council (APC) National Pie Championships the best commercial bakers in the nation were named. Held April 12-13 at the Renaissance Orlando SeaWorld Hotel, amateur, professional, and commercial bakers entered their most delicious pies in both sweet and savory flavor categories for bragging rights to be named the nation's best.
"Our commercial bakers represent the best of the best in the pie making industry," said Linda Hoskins, Executive Director, American Pie Council. "While coming together each year to compete, our family of top commercial pie makers also share ideas that furthers the growth of the pie industry at large. We're proud of our 25 years fostering America's love affair with pie and can't wait to see what our bakers cook up over the next 25 years!"
According to a press release, in the commercial division, bakeries from across the nation and Canada competed in flavor categories including savory pot pies and sweet flavors ranging from apple, lemon and pumpkin to citrus, fruit and berry, and much more. The pies were taste-tested by more than 200 judges.
First place was awarded for the best commercial pies in each flavor category, with top honors going to Harlan Bakeries, which took home 19 blue ribbons, closely followed by Weston Foods, which took home 18 blue ribbons.
Top pies from Harlan Bakeries included "Bursting from Berries," "Chocolate Maple Sugar Creme," "Honey Crisp Apple," "Cheesecake Pecan Brittle," and "Peachy Keen."
Some of the judges favorites pies from Weston Foods included "I Only Have (Cherry) Pies for You," "Guittard Chocolate Cherry Pie," "Strawberry Rhubarb Lattice Pie," and "Hold the Sugar Pineapple Pie."
In addition to sweet pies, first place ribbons were awarded for three savory pot pies including Southeastern Grocers' "Traditional Premium Chicken Pot Pie" and "Premium Pizza Pot Pie" and World of Pies' "Spinach and Feta Pot Pie."
The list of winning commercial bakers and number of ribbons is listed below. A complete list including each company's list of first place winning pies is available at piecouncil.org.
Pie industry icons took to the stage in on-going seminars that provided everything from tips and the latest industry research to demonstrations showcasing new baking techniques. Chef Joe DiPaolo of Pinnacle Foods and Meg Harris from Conagra Brands discussed the art and science of pie thickeners. Chef Josh Johnson of The Guittard Chocolate Company focused on the flavor impact of layers and textures.
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